Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nuance buys speech recognition business from Philips

Another step in speech recognition consolidation: Nuance Communications buys Philips speech recognition unit

More than five years after acquiring Philips Speech Processing Business Units, Nuance completes acquiring the Philips speech recognition business. While the older acquisition was for telephony and voice control, the recent acquisition is mainly around the healthcare speech dictation market. It seems more of a business driven acquisition (the EU market) rather than technology. Will the future of Speech Magic be the same as Speech Pearl? Nuance was very aggressive and I assume efficient with its acquisitions making sure that no multiple engines will coexist for the long term.

Nuance Communications buys speech recognition unit

Wednesday October 1, 8:40 am ET
Nuance Communications pays $96.1 million for speech recognition unit in Europe

BURLINGTON, Mass. (AP) -- Nuance Communications Inc., which makes speech recognition software, said Wednesday it bought Royal Philips Electronics' speech recognition unit for about 66 million euros, or US$96.1 million.

Nuance bought the unit in order to expand its presence in the European health care market.

Under the deal, Netherlands-based Royal Philips received a payment of 21.7 million euros on Sept. 26 and will receive 44.3 million euros in a deferred payment on Sept. 21, 2009. Nuance said the deal will add between $36 million and $39 million in revenue in 2009, and now expects revenue to reach $410 million. The buyout will add up to 1-cent per share in profit.

The addition of the speech recognition unit, Nuance said, enhances the company's ability to provide documentation and communication services to health care organizations throughout Europe. It said about $2 billion is spent annually in Europe for health care companies to manually process clinical information.

ScanSoft Completes Acquisition of Philips Speech Processing Business Units

Leading Telephony and Voice Control Technologies and Applications Expand ScanSoft's Presence in Telephony, Automotive and Embedded Markets

PEABODY, Mass., 3rd February, 2003 - ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), a leading provider of imaging, speech and language solutions, today announced that is has closed the acquisition of the Speech Processing Telephony and Voice Control business units and related intellectual property from Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI).

"ScanSoft's acquisition of the Telephony and Voice Control business units from Philips Speech Processing further enhances our market share in key markets and gives the company additional competitive momentum in our target markets," said Paul Ricci, ScanSoft's chairman and CEO. "With a broader set of technologies and an enhanced distribution channel, ScanSoft is well positioned to capitalise on growth opportunities in the telephony, automotive and embedded markets. In addition, we expect the relationship we have forged with Philips to contribute to the development of new speech technologies in the future."

The businesses acquired by ScanSoft include:

  • Telephony - The Philips Speech Processing Telephony business allows enterprise customers, telephony vendors and carriers to speech-enable a range of services, including directory assistance, interactive voice response and voice portal applications. Philips automatic speech recognition (ASR) engine, SpeechPearl®, supports more than 40 languages and can process a vocabulary of more than one million words, making it the solution of choice for telephony applications that target global and broad regional markets. Philips has also leveraged its expertise in telephony ASR to develop VoiceRequest™, an enterprise auto-attendant solution, and automated directory assistance implementations that have been deployed by Telia in Sweden, the Japan Multimedia Service and Telef√≥nica de Argentina, among others.

  • Voice Control - The Philips Speech Processing Voice Control business is addressing growing consumer demand for speech-enabled automotive, mobile and consumer electronics products. Philips' SpeechWave™ and VoCon® small-footprint speech recognition engines are ideal for embedded applications including voice-control of climate and entertainment features within cars. These solutions are also used within navigation systems and to enable automated voice dialing within mobile phones, including those from Philips.

The consideration for the transaction comprises a $27.5 million three-year, zero-interest convertible subordinated debenture, convertible at any time into common shares of ScanSoft at $6.00 per share; 4.1 million euros in cash, of which 3.1 million euros were paid at closing and 1 million euros are payable by December 31, 2003; and a 5 million euro 5% interest note due December 31, 2003. The cash payable is subject to adjustment in accordance with the provisions of the agreement as amended.